History: Stadt Ingelfingen


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A brief local history

A number of archaelogical finds from the early Stone Age, the Hallstatt Age and the La-Téne Age prove that our district was intermittently colonised as early as 5000 years ago. The first documentary reference to Ingelfingen was made in the year 1080 AD in a document archived in the Comburg Monastery near Schwäbisch Hall.

The next mention of the town was made in the year 1248, when Pope Innocent IV took the Comburg Monastery under his protection including the estates in Stein and Künzelsau, the monastery garden and the vineyards in Ingelfingen. In 1250 Lord Kraft von Boxberg built Castle Lichteneck (Burg Lichteneck), which today is preserved only as a ruin. The castle was presumably destroyed by lightning in the mid-15th century.

In 1302 Ingelfingen was mentioned as an oppidum, or fortified burgh, from which probably derives its formal rights as a town. In 1323 Ingelfingen was granted market rights by Emperor Ludwig.

During the Thirty Years War, the town fell victim to pestilence and marauding troops. Despite the support of Count von Hohenlohe, it failed to really flourish. Then, in 1701, Count Christian Kraft von Hohenlohe moved to Ingelfingen and built the New Castle (Neue Schloss). Ingelfingen became a royal seat and underwent a transformation.

In 1764 Count Heinrich August von Ingelfingen was made an Imperial Prince. His son, Friedrich Ludwig, the last prince to reside here, developed the outlying “Mariannenvorstadt” as an early artisan settlement during the period 1782 to 1806. As a Prussian field marshal, he was defeated by Napoleon at the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt on 14th October 1806.

Traces of the past

In 1805 the House of Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen inherited the House of Hohenlohe-Öhringen by succession. The seat of the Ingelfingen dynasty was subsequently moved to Öhringen. The loss of the royal seat and the withdrawal of offices and civil servants marked the beginning of a downturn in the fortunes of Ingelfingen.

Many inhabitants emigrated, principally to North America, United Kingdom and Ireland. Others migrated to bigger towns and cities in search of a better life.

The New Castle (Neue Schloss) acquired by the town in 1962 was renovated between 1984 and 1988, and has since served as the town hall. The "Black Court" (Schwarzer Hof), a historico-culturally important nobleman’s house dating from the Renaissance period, was refurbished and renovated between 1998 and 2001. The Ingelfingen Winegrowers’ Cooperative was established in 1892 to help make winegrowing a more viable and sustainable livelihood.

In 1965 the two hitherto independent Ingelfingen and Criesbach winegrowers’ cooperatives merged to form the "Kochertal Winery Ingelfingen" (Kochertalkellerei), which expanded again to incorporate the Belsenberg Winegrowers’ Cooperative in 1976 and the Forchtenberg Winegrowers’ Cooperative in the year 2000. The cooperative has its head offices in Ingelfingen. A modern-day landmark in the vineyards between Ingelfingen and Criesbach is the "Ingelfinger Fass", a distinctive barrel-shaped building incorporating a Museum of Winegrowing built by local entrepeneur Fritz Müller (GEMÜ).

A natural spring was discovered while boring for coal during the period from 1857 to 1877. The water has been used since 1911 as a medicinal water for drinking and bathing cures and matches the quality of the Bad Mergentheim waters. However, the hopes of developing a drinking and bathing spa have not been realised to date.

Nevertheless, Ingelfingen is today an attractive residential community with an established infrastructure and home to a number of healthy, eco-friendly small and medium sized businesses.